A woman wearing a face mask walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. Asian share rose Monday, but skepticism about the economic outlook for the region tempered the rally amid worries about further waves of COVID-19 outbreaks. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Wall Street's major stock indexes were mixed in afternoon trading Monday, with losses by technology and health care companies outweighing gains elsewhere in the market.
The S&P 500 has been essentially flat for much of the day. It was down 0.1% as of 3:28 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 104 points, or 0.3%, to 34,902 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.4%.
The benchmark S&P 500 had more gainers than losers. Banks made solid gains as bond yields continued climbing, which allows them to charge higher interest rates on loans. Bank of America gained 2.7%.
The price of benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 2% and supported gains for energy stocks. Exxon Mobil was up 3.3%.
The technology sector, which carries an outsized weight within the S&P 500, fell 0.9% overall. Microsoft fell 1.7%.
A measure of small-company stocks did better than the major indexes in a sign that investors were still confident about future economic growth. The Russell 2000 index rose 1.8%.
Markets have had a choppy month so far and the S&P 500 is on pace to shed 1.6% in September, which would mark the first monthly loss since January. Investors have been trying to gauge just how much room the economy has to grow amid waves of COVID-19 crimping consumer spending and job growth while inflation remains a concern.
The economic recovery started strong in 2021, but analysts and economists have been tempering their forecasts for the rest of the year. In a survey being released Monday, the National Association for Business Economics found that its panel now expects full-year economic growth of 5.6%, down from a forecast for 6.7% growth in NABE’s previous survey in May. However, economists raised their forecast for 2022 economic growth to 3.5% from a previous outlook of 2.8%.
Consumer spending has been the key driver for the economic recovery and it has been crimped in part by rising cases of COVID-19 because of the highly contagious delta variant. Investors will get a glimpse into how that could continue to play out on Tuesday when The Conference Board releases its consumer confidence index for September.
Wall Street has been facing an otherwise quiet period for corporate news as companies prepare to start reporting their latest quarterly results in the next few weeks. The next round of corporate statements could give investors a better sense of the actual impact supply chain and labor disruptions are having on sales and profits.
Bond yields were broadly higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.48% from 1.46% late Friday. It was at 1.31% a week ago, as market jitters drove investors to shift money into bonds, which lowers their yield, but has been climbing since Tuesday.
Bank stocks have responded to the sudden surge in bond yields. The KBW Bank Index has risen more than 9% in four days.
The exception Monday was Wells Fargo, which fell 0.7%. The bank settled its latest legal headache by agreeing to pay $37 million over allegations overcharged customers using its foreign exchange services.
The bank has been entangled in numerous scandals the past few years and is still operating under an order from the Federal Reserve that keeps Wells from growing any larger. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts issued a letter this month calling for Wells Fargo to be broken up, citing the bank’s inability to resolve its problems.
Markets in Europe edged higher while Asian markets were mixed.
AP Business Writer Ken Sweet contributed.
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